The mind games begin! France boss Didier Deschamps claims England have ‘no weaknesses’ ahead of their World Cup quarter-final clash… and insists Gareth Southgate is ‘not appreciated or valued in his country’
France manager Didier Deschamps has started the mind games with England, one day before their huge World Cup quarter-final clash.
The two nations will face off in the biggest game of the tournament so far – consisting of two of the favourites to lift the trophy on December 18.
During his pre-match press conference, Deschamps put the pressure on England as he insisted they had ‘no weaknesses’ within their squad, while commenting France that would have to ‘identify’ they can hurt the Three Lions.
Didier Deschamps says his France need to find ways to hurt an England side with ‘no weakness’
England’s match with France will see one of the tournament’s favourites crash out on Saturday
‘They don’t have any [weaknesses], all teams have strengths, not all have too many weaknesses, only some slightly less strong points,’ he said.
‘They have had the opportunity to see us play in four matches even though the third may not be too useful for them. At the end of the day you also need to make slight changes here and there and recognise slight weaknesses of opponents, areas you can work on.’
His comments come despite France – along with Brazil – being seen as the two favourites to win the competition.
During the press conference, he also came to the defence of his opposing number Gareth Southgate, who he has previously had the chance to meet and speak to at managers’ meetings.
Deschamps defended Gareth Southgate claiming he’s ‘not appreciated in his country’
Deschamps said: ‘I very much like Gareth,’ said Deschamps. ‘We’ve met on a number of occasions. We’ve talked on a number of things. If I have understood correctly, not everyone respects him so much in his own country.
‘But he had a long and distinguished career and he’s also a very good coach. He has enabled England to get some very good results over the years and I very much like him.’
Deschamps, who guided France to World Cup glory four years ago, also said his side needed to spread the danger across the frontline to prevent England from constantly focusing on star player Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe has arguably been the player of the tournament so far, and he leads the scoring charts with five goals in four games.
He put in his best performance in France’s 3-1 victory over Poland in the last round where he netted a brace, in the same game that Olivier Giroud also broke France’s all-time scoring record.
Deschamps wants Mbappe’s team-mates across the forward line to help take the focus off him
He said: ‘I am sure England will have prepared to face Kylian as our previous opponents did but Kylian is in the position to make the difference and even in the last match where he didn’t show his top form he was still decisive.
‘We have other players that can be dangerous as well and that helps us not be over dependent on Kylian. But Kylian is Kylian and he has that capacity to make the difference.’
Deschamps was also asked about his future as France manager, after French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet insisted he would like the 54-year-old to stay around after the World Cup.
The manager though insisted he was focused on reaching the last-four despite admitting that he appreciated Le Graet’s comments.